ASUAF President Triebel resigns abruptly, hands reins to Vorisek
By Tom Hewitt
Sun Star Reporter
As 2009 drew to a close, a tumultuous year for the Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks took a final twist.
ASUAF President Adrian Triebel resigned his office December 29 to take an internship position on the staff of Senator Mark Begich, leaving ASUAF Vice President Todd Vorisek to take over his duties for the spring semester.
The move took almost all of Triebel’s constituents – both in and out of student government – by surprise. While Triebel informed a small circle of friends and associates prior to his official resignation, most people heard of the decision via a Facebook post Triebel made early in the afternoon of the 29th. “I recently graduated from UAF with a BA,” the post read. “I have been offered an Intern (sic) in the office of Senator Begich in DC. I have accepted the invitation and will be leaving this wonderful University soon. Vice President Vorisek will be taking my place, I am confident in his abilities and those of the executive cabinet. I will miss you.”
A few days later, Triebel was gone. By the first week of January he had already relocated to Washington, D.C.
Shortly after his announcement, Triebel defended his decision and insisted he had not made it lightly. “I thought hard about this,” he said. “I know some people will say that this is like what [former Governor] Palin did, but it’s really not, and I don’t want people to think that.”
With Triebel’s departure, ASUAF Vice President Todd Vorisek became acting president. Vorisek said he had known of Triebel’s job offer for a short time before he accepted, and that he had encouraged Triebel to take advantage of the opportunity. “I think it’s the right decision, and I support him in it… ASUAF is an awesome opportunity and you can do a lot with it, but when it comes down to it, we’re here for our futures, and that needs to be his priority.”
To be official, the senate must still confirm Vorisek’s ascension to the presidency, but the acting president is already looking toward selecting his replacement for the vice presidents seat. “The bylaws are actually really pretty unclear. I’m going to do it, and if somebody wants to come out with a different interpretation of the bylaws, they can fight me for it,” he said. “I’m going to appoint the person who I feel is going to do the best job.”
Vorisek declined to specify who he was considering for the position, saying only that there were “two strong candidates” that he was considering closely. Sources with knowledge of the situation, however, pointed to UAF Socratic Society leader Jay Leonard as the frontrunner for the position, and anticipated a public decision would be made this week.
Though most students who had read Triebel’s resignation were supportive of his move, some privately expressed reservations, even making the Palin comparison that Triebel had feared.
Acting President Vorisek dismissed such criticisms and said he strongly disagreed, but jokingly made the comparison himself, saying, “We wish Adrian all the best at FOX.”